Spain arrests fugitive Polish millionaire over political scandal | News | DW | 06.04.2019
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Spain arrests fugitive Polish millionaire over political scandal

Spanish police have detained "the most wanted" Polish man, a millionaire convicted of spying on politicians in expensive Warsaw restaurants. The man allegedly tried to avoid arrest by threatening to kill himself.

A man who once triggered a massive political scandal in Poland was arrested in the Spanish seaside town of Cullera, Spanish police said on Saturday.

The officials did not provide the suspects name, but described him as a multi-millionaire and the "most wanted man" in Poland. Separately, Poland's Interior Minister Joachim Brudzinski confirmed the detainee was fugitive businessman Marek Falenta.

The 43-year-old is a key figure in a Polish eavesdropping scandal which contributed to the moderate Civic Platform losing the 2015 election to the currently ruling Law and Justice party. According to a Polish court ruling, Falenta set up a system which allowed waiters in high-end Warsaw restaurants to make illegal audio recordings of their guests.

The more controversial recordings were eventually published by the media, including a conversation in which Poland's then-foreign minister describes Warsaw's alliance with the US as "worthless." Falenta was convicted to two-and-a-half-years in prison in December 2016.

It was not immediately clear when or how he fled Poland.

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On Saturday, Spanish police said the businessman "threatened to throw himself off the balcony on the ninth floor" after officers entered the luxury apartment in the seaside town. However, they were able to convince him not to jump and took him into custody.

Polish authorities had issued a Europe-wide arrest warrant for Falenta. Spanish officials said he is now due to appear before a judge, which is necessary before starting any extradition procedure.

dj/jlw (AP,AFP)

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